Although the bulk of supply chain executives accepts that the path to increased operational efficiency and customer satisfaction lies in the digitalisation of logistics workflows, logistics organisations trail behind the digital curve in comparison to some other industries.
A few key disruptors are challenging the livelihood and longevity of logistics enterprises. From strongly funded and scrappy start-ups to customers-turned-competitors and shrewd competitors giving birth to completely new business models while partnering with/or acquiring other players in the space, competition is fierce in the logistics arena.
A common thread among these threats is that most of the competition is deftly sparring with digital gloves. Integrators are taking bigger chunks of market share away from traditional logistics organisations by offering more streamlined end-to-end services, and suppliers themselves are digitalising their offerings and operations. Today’s traditional logistics concerns are hard-pressed to avoid the hefty amount of digital innovations being used by their competition, let alone their own inability to move with the times.
It is a known fact that the logistics industry largely trails behind the digital curve compared to some other industries sectors, like media, banking, telco, and retail. Here, where poor transparency serves to stretch an already fragmented industry, traditional logistics companies are plagued by underutilisation of assets, old and inefficient manual processes, and outdated customer interfaces that serve to decrease response times.
Logistics’ Digital Solution
The blueprint for transformation draws upon three key digital actions: develop new business models and offerings, digitalise core operations, and build a robust internal digital foundation. The success model for logistics organisations requires several inputs. Some of these include:
Develop New Business Models and Offerings
– New Digital Platforms: Building robust new platforms will help remove supply chain inefficiencies, solve problems associated with asset underutilisation, improve demand-supply matching, and increase visibility and connectivity across systems.
– Advanced Analytics: Putting powerful data-driven solutions to work can create new analytics tools that, in turn, can be sold to clients to help them optimize their operations and efficiencies.
– Control Tower: Providing solutions that boost operational visibility and connectivity between previously siloed systems allows stakeholders to more seamlessly connect throughout the supply chain.
Digitalise Core Operations
– Advanced Analytics: Logistics companies can use advanced analytics to optimise operations in pricing, routing, and partial load shipment consolidation.
– Customer Experience: Putting in place a digital front end provides customers with a convenient one-stop-shop experience, improves internal operational visibility and automates previously manual processes.
– Equipment Data. Digitally monitoring equipment health, facilitates more effective predictive maintenance.
– Next-Generation Solutions. Eyeing future operational improvements via robotics, artificial intelligence, and even augmented reality can help further elevate a logistical organisation’s operational efficiencies in distribution, warehousing as well as picking and packing.
Build a Robust Internal Digital Foundation
– Talent: Logistics enterprises must actively target and attract smart digital work-force talent to compete, maintain efficiencies, grow into new areas, and deliver on the promise of value for customers.
– Systems: Proffering the tenets and benefits of digital throughout the logistics organisation helps rationalise investments in more flexible technology systems throughout the value chain.
– Agility: Logistics concerns need to be agile in solution development to maintain the pace of digital and maximise its benefits.